Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

A. My List

Like many others this week, I was moved and grateful for the Time magazine “Person of the Year.” Many brave voices shook the chains of silence in 2017. That these women were recognized in such fashion is a huge step forward. And the elbow of the woman pictured on the cover, the woman who does not yet feel confident enough, safe enough, to speak, reminded me of myself many years ago. However, my first reaction to seeing the photo was that of a movie playing in my head that showed the faces of all the people who have helped me come out of silence; the parade of faces was long. I’m going to make a list here of all the people I can conjure in the next few minutes who have altered my life through their support of me or their example, who helped me find my own courage to speak. When you’ve finished reading this week’s articles, why not make your own list? Then reach out to those who’ve guided you, and don’t forget to support those in your life who remain in silence.

All gratitude to: Genie Zeiger, Jesse Chandler, Anna March, Dori Ostermiller, Rick Jackson, Julia Cameron, Boris Novak, Lidia Yuknavitch, Natasha Saje, Robin Behn, Sandra Cisneros, Susan Griffin, Z Budapest, Barbara Walker, Cheryl Strayed, Barbara Kingsolver, Audre Lourde, Kelly Sundberg, Lucille Clifton, Muriel Rukeyser, Sharon Olds, Ellen Bass, Natalie Goldberg, Leslie Marmon Silko, Brigid Mosher, Emily Dickinson, Peggy Hayden, Louise Erdrich, my 10th grade French Teacher, Pam Houston, bell hooks, Georgia O’Keefe, F R Hayden, Frida Kahlo, Anne Cameron, Annette Fortier, Niloofar Bahadori, Anne Miller, Linda White, Teresa Hill, George Harrison, Carol Edelstein, Susanae Hoch-Glovacki, Eleanor Wilner, Deena Metzger, Louise Gluck! Louise Gluck! Louise Glück!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

B. Al Franken

On my Facebook newsfeed earlier this week someone wrote:

“I just can’t believe this with Franken. Did he assault someone or was he just gropey?”

Just gropey??? Since when is “just gropey” acceptable? Is Trump worse? OF COURSE! There is no comparison. Are the Moore allegations worse? Of course!! Should these two harassers/rapists/abusers be in office? Of course not. But neither should Franken. “Gropey” is not ok. Seven accusers represents a pattern of rape culture behavior. The initiating writer of this FB post went on to say that Franken didn’t touch the woman’s breasts, she was clothed. PLEASE SEE LAST WEEK’S COLUMN! Anyone approaching me from behind or straight on who has their hands reaching toward any part of my body without my permission is more than likely going to send me into a dissociative state. Most women have been harassed or abused or groped many times. The repetition can often cause symptoms of PTSD. To say that this kind of assault is “just gropey,” completely diminishes the internalized fear and panic of a woman’s emotional experience and the weight of dread over time.

I know many readers may disagree with me on Franken, but please read Ijeoma Oluo’s “Think” piece on the subject. She believes, and I think rightly so, that most abusers resemble Franken, not Weinstein. Oluo writes, “Most abusers are people we like and respect, even love.” As she states, we’re in a time of grief and a time of rebuilding. And it’s going to hurt and it’s not going to be easy. But holding all perpetrators accountable is necessary, whether we “like” them or need them in the Senate, or not.

C. What to do About White Female Voters who elect Trump and Moore

No answer….still working on this one. Please advise. For an important, intersecting, perspective, don’t miss the lead article in which Gabrielle Union discusses the difference between black and white women’s experiences with undoing silence, and the inherent existing privilege of white women’s voices.

Other stories this week include the Ute Tribe of Utah taking steps to sue Trump; a discussion of Maxine Hong Kingston’s work; a story of one of America’s first slaves; the health crisis; and the connection between climate changes and the devastating fires in the West. I’ve also posted a visual essay that shows the “toys” of children in exile. So, for these stories and more, Please Read On!


  1.  She asserted strongly that women of color haven’t been heard as enthusiastically. “I think the floodgates have opened for white women,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable. And whose pain needs to be addressed now.”
“We’re Going to Need More Gabrielle Union”/ by Hayley Krischer/ New York Times/ December 5, 2017

 


2. The anonymous elbow is a powerful symbol that highlights the fact that though the flood gates may have been cracked open, it will take much longer to ensure they stay that way for good.
“The Anonymous Arm On The ‘TIME’ Cover Represents The #MeToo Moments You Don’t Hear About”/ by Lauren Holter/ Bustle/ December 6, 2017

 


3. Because we are looking for a justification that will let us keep enjoying the things we love without accepting that those same things can be deeply hurtful to others. Because we are lazy and it is a hassle to find a new favorite comedian, a new favorite director, a new favorite football team. Because some jokes, some premises, some stereotypes, some plot points, some characters, just plain don’t really bother us because they’re not about us. It’s easier for us to overlook transphobic material, and transphobic behavior, if we’re cis. It’s easier for us to write off racist remarks if we’re white. It’s easier for us to ignore crappy material or cracks about disability if we’re able-bodied. And it’s easier to enjoy the work of people who commit sexual abuse, harassment and assault if we don’t perceive their behavior as a threat, or take victims and survivors seriously.
“Silence Breakers Are Person of the Year, But We’re Still Losing”/ by Andrea Grimes/ DAME/ December 6, 2017

 


4. I cannot yet talk about the experiences that made me a preteen obsessed with being destroyed and an adult who talks to ghosts. I was corrupted and I was corrupt. Born this way or made this way, when I cast the cherry pits onto the table in the manner of ancient runes, the universe told me I’d grow up to be a mad Black girl.
“Black Girl Going Mad”/ by Rivers Solomon/ Guernica/ December 4, 2017

 


5. As I read her words, I experienced a feeling previously unknown to me: recognition. I had always turned to books for pleasure, as portals to other places. Reading The Woman Warrior, for the first time I saw myself on every page and in every word. I understood Kingston’s family’s silence and admired her outspoken defiance. Though I opened the book unwilling, I closed it fully transformed.
“What I Learned From Maxine Hong Kingston”/ by Alexis Cheung/ Catapult/ December 4, 2017

 


6. The President’s action threatens the priceless resources of Bears Ears. “The Monument isn’t just about a few isolated artifacts. The Monument is a living part of our culture as well as the history and culture of the United States. Our cultures are still here and still thriving,” said Shaun Chapoose, member of the Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee. “The Bears Ears region is a cultural landscape – a place to nurture our families in our traditions. It’s a sad state of affairs when the President of this great Nation shows manifest disregard for our history and culture as a people, but we are prepared to fight for our rights, and to protect Bears Ears.”
“Ute Indian Tribe Statement on Trump’s Disrespect for Tribes, Bears Ears”/ Ute Indian Tribe Political Action Committee/ December 4, 2017

 


7. That point was quite evident during a CNN interview Tuesday with Moore spokeswoman Janet Porter, who told interviewer Poppy Harlow, who is pregnant: “Doug Jones says you can take the life of that baby. [Moore will] stand for the rights of babies like yours, in the womb, where his opponent will support killing them up until the moment of birth.”
“White Women in Alabama have Made Up Their Minds About Roy Moore”/ by Eugene Scott/ The Washington Post/ December 6, 2017

 


8. I looked around the excavation site and noticed nothing but white people working in archaeology in Jamestown. Maybe this is another story for another time, but it’s a really tough pill to swallow. I decided to share the visit to the site via a Facebook Live video, and several of The Root’s readers inquired why there were no black people on site other than myself and the fellow black journalists on the trip.
“Meet ‘Angela,’ One of the First Slaves to Arrive in America”/ by Danielle Young/ The Root/ December 5, 2017

 


9. Ed Jones, a photographer with Agence France-Presse, had first wanted to show what people — adults and children alike — had brought with them as they escaped a bloody crackdown by security forces in Burma, which is also called Myanmar. “I felt that anything that people bring with them, however small, in the midst of panic must not only have some interesting stories attached to them but might also serve to illustrate the urgency with which people left their homes,” Jones said. But, as he asked the people he was photographing, it turned out that no one had brought anything with them, “which, in itself, is sadly revealing,” he added.
“The Unexpected Toys Rohingya Children Cherish in Exile”/ by Olivier Laurent and Ed Jones/ The Washington Post/ December 5, 2017

 


10. Al Franken was able to rise to the rank of U.S. Senator without addressing the harm he had done women because we as a society and we as a political party did not think that it was that important. Because we have never held likable men who abuse women accountable for their actions unless forced to do so. Because we have always sold out the wellbeing of individual women for the benefit of the collective — as if the collective isn’t also made up of individual women.
“Al Franken Harassed Women and Should Resign. But it’s OK to Admit His Loss Hurts.”/ by Ijeoma Oluo/ nbcnews/ December 7, 2017

 


11. The idea was to learn to be assertive but not aggressive, to stop being a silently suffering martyr or someone who holds in all their anger and resentment until it all boils over into inappropriate and ineffective rage or self-destructive behavior.
“Assertiveness Training”/ by Susan Sheu/ Longreads/ December 1, 2017

 


12. Ultimately, Grigoriadis brings up questions around the nature of truth, the failures of communication, and the duty and our collective responsibility to believe each other and to right what has been wronged. Grigoriadis and I corresponded in October about Title IX, believing women, the importance of early consent education, and the distinction between personal and political choice.
“Our Victim-Blaming Culture”/ by Larissa Pham/ Guernica/ December 5, 2017

 


13. Telling does not mean feeling better or lighter or relieved.
“Why We Don’t Tell”/ by Teri Carter/ The Manifest-Station/ December 6, 2017

 


14. Of all the haunting night sounds here in the South, cicadas are one of the most unnerving to me. They rise into a great chorus of humming and legend goes that cicadas are the souls of artists who have died without getting to tell their stories. They abandon their shells in the summer, burrow underground, and return again with their incessant, high-pitched scream-singing that you cannot not hear. They make it so. It is a beautiful terror. It is how my brave artist friends with vision exist down here — they scream and scream and scream through paint or poetry or music or loving or living in such a vibrant way that, hopefully, there will be only the shells of us left when we die.
“Daughters of Witches”/ by Megan Ainsworth/ CORPOREAL WRITING/ December 6, 2017

 


15. “He leaves the hospital. He walked three miles back home. He sits for another three days before gangrene start setting in and he walked back to the hospital and they finally admitted him,” she said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “That is the dignity being taken away from you when you don’t have any money. You don’t have access to health care. You have no food.”
“Viola Davis Lays Down The Heartbreaking Truth Of Being Denied Health Care”/ by Carly Ledbetter/ Huffington Post/ December 5, 2017

 


16. So why does climate change promote fires? One reason is that it’s just hotter than it used to be. Shorter cold winter periods and higher temperatures in spring and summer mean that vegetation and soil have more time to dry out than they have in the past, lengthening the time of wildfire season.
“We Can’t Talk About the Los Angeles Fires Without Talking About Climate Change”/ by Amy Thomson/ Mother Jones/ December 6, 2017

 


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website joycehayden.com. Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

 

 

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